Earlier this month, a Mississippi judge entered a default judgment in a medical malpractice case in favor of a woman and her husband for the alleged injuries sustained by the woman when the doctor performing her abortion suddenly stopped the procedure and sent her home, despite the woman having cramps, feeling dizzy, and bleeding. The doctor did not prescribe antibiotics and told the woman to come back later to have another doctor complete the procedure.
The medical malpractice case was filed in 2005 and alleged that the botched abortion in 2003 led to the diabetic woman developing sepsis that resulted in her coma that lasted for one and a half weeks. The medical malpractice defendants included the doctor who started but did not complete the abortion, the clinic where the abortion began, and the National Women’s Health Organization of Jackson, Mississippi.
On the day that the medical malpractice case was supposed to go to trial in November, 2011, the defendants failed to appear. As a result, a judge entered a default judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $500,000 in noneconomic damages ($400,000 for the wife and $100,000 for her husband), $19,820.83 for the wife’s lost wages, $9,700 for the husband’s lost wages, $64,914.60 for the wife’s medical bills, and punitive damages in the amount of $6,000.
The clinic where the aborted abortion was performed is under new ownership. Ironically, the defendant abortion doctor is seeking a judgment against the clinic for its failure to defend against the medical malpractice claim. The doctor also claims that he was terminated shortly after the clinic was under new ownership in retaliation for refusing to perform a non-FDA-approved abortion procedure and that he was discriminated against when the clinic hired a white doctor who would perform the allegedly unapproved abortion procedure.
While there is much debate in the United States regarding abortions, there can be little debate that a doctor performing an abortion must not abandon the procedure and his patient. It is not clear why the Mississippi abortion doctor stopped the abortion shortly after he began the procedure or why the woman was instructed to return to the clinic to have another doctor complete the abortion procedure.
Despite the religious and political overtones regarding abortions, abortions are in fact medical procedures that require a proper level of skill and must be performed competently by trained medical personnel. A doctor performing an abortion must use that degree of care that a reasonably competent doctor would use under similar circumstances (the “standard of care”). If the doctor fails to meet the standard of care in performing an abortion, the law holds the doctor responsibile for the injuries and damages that result from his failure.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to the medical negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, you should seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney regarding your legal rights.
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